Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue - Kansas City, MO

In our travels the last few years we've visited quite a few barbecue joints and have tried some very different barbecue styles. But we'd not tried Kansas City-style until recently. Kansas City-style barbecue is slow smoked over wood and covered with a thick tomato and molasses based sauce which can be sweet, spicy or tangy. Most tend to be both spicy and sweet. The ribs are mostly pork, but what I appreciate is that they often use a variety of meats, including beef and mutton, my favorites. 

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue in Kansas City is rated no. 3 out of 1,144 restaurants in Kansas City on Trip Advisor and I've read several times that they've been rated the no. 1 barbecue joint in the U.S. by Zagat. I found a 2012 Huffington Post article on the 20 top rated bbq restaurants in the U.S. by Zagat and on that one, Fiorella's was listed at no. 10. Former BYU football player and current coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid, named Fiorella's Jack Stack as his favorite Kansas City barbecue, and if you look at a picture of Andy, you'll see he loves to eat.
We ended up visiting twice. On our first visit we had a crown prime beef short rib, some lamb ribs, hickory pit beans, cheesy corn and smoked salmon dip. The crown prime beef short rib is the single best piece of barbecue meat I have ever tasted. It is huge, fatty, fall-off-the-bone tender, loaded with flavor and something to be cherished. It is great by itself, with added barbecue sauce or with added horse-radish sauce. This, by itself, is what prompted our second visit.
Crown prime beef short rib
Short rib with the bone removed. 
The lamb ribs were good, nice and fatty with lamby flavor, but pretty small. The hickory pit beans were the best barbecue beans I've ever tasted. Quite sweet and spicy, containing chunks of meat. Judy really liked the cheesy corn. It was okay, not a lot of flavor.
Cheesy corn
The slaw was average and the barbecue sauce was vinegary, relatively thin and came in regular and spicy. Some of the best barbecue sauce I've ever had.
Finally, the smoked salmon dip was creamy, smooth, had wonderful mouth-feel, and was relatively mild.
Smoked salmon dip
Finally, we got a piece of carrot cake for the road. It was okay. Nothing to get too excited about.
I couldn't get the crown prime beef short rib out of my mind. So several days later when we returned to Kansas City we went again. This time I had a combo of the crown prime beef short rib, lamb ribs and beef ribs.
Combo plate with beef ribs (left), lamb ribs (center) and crown prime beef short rib (right).
It was so much food it about put me under. These lamb ribs were larger than the ones we had the first time and were meatier - even better. The crown prime beef short rib was as good this time as last, but the beef ribs were mediocre - maybe more so because of the other ribs on my plate.
Crown prime beef short rib.
Beef ribs
The building, set in downtown, is very nice. Our booth was separate and it felt like we had some privacy. Fiorella's Jack Stack, if not the number one barbecue joint I've visited, is in contention. I will look for opportunities to return.  


  1. I've actually been there three times--once before you joined me. I had the burnt ends, a cut/preparation I had never heard of, and thought they were divine. All the superlatives you use are spot on. But you're wrong about the cheesy corn--it was rich and flavorful. Your palate was just tainted by bbq sauce.

  2. Stan and I have learned it's hard to find really good prime rib. This looks delicious.